Workshop Sonex 1362

Workshop Sonex 1362


Dan has a great space off his garage to work on the plane.  He installed a tarp as a divider from the garage and an electric heater should help with the Minnesota winters.

Dan built a great table.

Dan built this material rack, it has casters and can support a 4×12 sheet of aluminum.  We can roll it over next to the table, place a whole sheet on table, trim what we need, put the sheet back and roll the cart back in the garage. Sweet.

Plywood.erAluminum Rack. Rolling and 12 long. Very useful.

Enough about Dan

Tim has shown no fear with his willingness to buy any tool at any time.  Add to that the fact that he had a nice collection of some choice tools to start with.

Ive collected a large number of tools over the years as well, although not many of them are really well suited to building a plane.  Ive always felt that the  best work is done with the best tools and second rate tools can often be an unnecessary burden.  A lot of folks on the web (including some reputable sources) suggest you can get by with base level tools.  I think this is true but the problem is some of the really cheap stuff out there is not worth trying to use.  I can give an example with a band saw that I have.

My band saw is absolutely the lowest grade saw on the market.  I dont want to say where it was made, as not to bias anyone reading this so Ill make up a name.lets call it the country of Shina. I think we can consider its country of origin anonymous for now.  Anyway, they make this really cheap band saw and somehow I ended up with one.  The thing is that it would cut really curvy things really well, even if what you wanted to cut was a straight line.  Maybe the blade could be replaced with a thicker one (I dont have the manual for it and no where on the thing is there a notice of the blade length).  So, Tim brought over this slightly better band saw and despite my insistance that I thought my saw would work as Id cut aluminum with it before (even if it was just curves).  Tims saw found its way over to my garage and I gave it a try.

Cutting straight lines with Tims band saw is a breeze.  Tims saw was probably sold for twice the price of the one I have (which still is not a lot).   It cuts alumium like it was butter and I am amazed at the difference between the performance of the two saws.  Point is, you cant really tell how bad something is unless you know what to expect out of it.  In general, once youve used good tools its tough to go back.

The real problem is that if all you have access to are real junk tools, you can make a lot of garbage parts while building a plane.  Heck, you can make a lot of bad parts with good tools for that matter so why make things tough on yourself.

So, this page is supposed to be about the workshop so lets get to it.

The work space we have is a area that is 14 x 22.  It is part of a larger garage where we have a compressor as well as where we keep the aforementioned material rack.  No matter how much space you have youll almost always want more (or use more).  Kind of like the old saying, expenses always rise to meet income and the tools you own always just fit in the garage space you have available.  This may be a bit simplistic but it seems to hold a lot of truth.

The space we have is heated, although not continuously.  We only turn the heat on when working.  Ive done projects in the back part of the garage in the winter when its been really cold out (like -10 F) and not found it at all difficult to warm the area to a comforatable 60 F in a short time.  The walls are insulated with foam, one wall is common to the house and the ceiling is insulated with plenty of fiberglass (maybe R30 or something like that).

The work table is a 4 x 12 work space and it is on rollers so it can be moved from one side of the room to the other when needed (like when we roll in the storage rack to load a new sheet of aluminum to the table for cutting).  The table and the rack are two very useful additions to the shop.  They were definitely worth the time it took to build.  Ill add the drawings for the rack but I kind of made up the table as I built it so Id have to try to re-create the design from the photos I have of it.

As far as hand tools go, it seems to never end.  Both Tim and I have continued to add to our collection as we have found it necessary and even some of the tools Ive previously owned Ive replaced (like aviation snips.). Having a good new set of sharp snips can make a difference.

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